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Obama, Fonda and the "Patriotism of Dissent" By: Don Feder
GrasstopsUSA.com | Wednesday, July 09, 2008


On June 30, Barack Obama gives a speech in Independence, Missouri, proclaiming his "deep and abiding love for this country," and daring anyone to question his patriotism.

The July 7 issue of Time Magazine has a cover story ("The New Patriotism") asserting, "no matter how they define patriotism, Americans should tremble before insisting that any fellow citizen lacks it."  If the mainstream media got talking-points from the Democratic National Committee, they could hardly be more on-message.

The Time story was written by Richard Stengel, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Taking instruction on patriotism from Time and the CFR is like getting lessons in decorum from Madonna or hearing a sobriety lecture by Lindsay Lohan.

Among other fanciful interpretations of electoral history, Stengel writes that Nixon was reelected in 1972 because his cabinet wore American flag lapel pins and McGovern's entourage did not. Couldn't have anything to do with the fact that the New Left icon ran on a platform of socialism at home and surrender in Vietnam, could it?

The CFR fellow also thinks Mike Dukakis lost in 1988 because, as governor of Massachusetts, he had refused to sign a bill requiring teachers to lead students in the Pledge of Allegiance. Defending furloughs for rapists and murders apparently had nothing to do with Dukakis' defeat that year -- any more than his freezing like a deer in the headlights when asked if he'd still oppose capital punishment if his wife was raped and murdered.

It's all about the refusal of noble Democrats to wrap themselves in the flag, while crass, opportunistic Republicans act like George M. Cohan at a 4th of July picnic, according to Time.

The essay also informed us, "American patriotism wears two faces: a patriotism of affirmation, which appeals more to conservatives, and a patriotism of dissent, particularly cherished by liberals."

I don't know any true patriot who questions the right of Americans to dissent on any issue, whether we agree with them or not.

The Left's patriotism-deficit has less to do with dissent than a  very real and ingrained hostility toward America.

Its recitation of our national saga runs from slavery to Wounded Knee, to the wartime internment of Japanese Americans, to segregation to My Lai and Abu Ghraib -- excluding everything else. Liberals love America; they just can't find anything positive to say about it, other than Susan B. Anthony and Rosa Parks.

The article also discloses, "The American who volunteers to fight in Iraq and the American who protests the war both express a truer patriotism than the American who treats it as a distant spectacle with no claim on his talents or conscience."

This is a truly weird moral equivalency -- one which equates the young Marine who loses a limb in a Baghdad bombing with the moron Marxist who claims the Marines are the equivalent of the Waffen S.S. and the Iraq war is really about "blood for oil."

In trying to rationalize how the Left can hate our history and  heritage while still claiming the mantle of patriotism, Stengel explains: "For liberals, America is less a common culture than a set of ideals about democracy, equality and the rule of law." Toward the end of his Independence speech, Obama informed us: "Patriotism is always more than just loyalty to a place on a map or a certain kind of people. Instead, it is loyalty to America's idea...."

In other words, the Left's loyalty isn't to America as it is, but to an ideal America reflected in certain principles. The problem with this proposition is that leftists have betrayed both America and the ideals on which it was founded.

"Democracy"? The Left stands for the rule of judges, not representative government. What's democratic about Obama insisting that the people of California should not have a vote on marriage -- that instead the definition should be determined by the one-vote majority of an unelected body?

How do you reconcile "equality before the law" with racial quotas or affirmative action? Martin Luther King believed a man should be judged by the content of his character, not the color of his skin. The Left believes in privileges based on race, gender, ethnicity or, increasingly, what it calls sexual orientation.

What could be more American than the freedom to speak one's mind, especially in a political context?

Liberals will defend to the death your right to agree with them. When it comes to dissent from political correctness, they are censors nonpareil. The Left controls higher education more completely than any other aspect of American life. Not only is anti-Americanism rampant on the college campus, so too is a uniformity of opinion enforced with an iron hand.

Campus speech codes are based on the fascist notion that the expression of certain ideas must be punished. A recent example of the academic totalitarian mindset was the firing of an African-American administrator at the University of Toledo for writing a letter to the editor objecting to homosexuals being compared to blacks.

The left believes in a "patriotism of dissent" for itself, and itself alone -- not on the college campus, not in front of an abortion clinic (which, thanks to the likes of Ted Kennedy, are insulated from protest by speech-suppression, buffer zones), and definitely not when the opinions expressed are alleged to be offensive to certain minorities. Hate crimes laws are the left's most daring adventure in censorship.

Before Time was gracious enough to explain patriotism to those of us who cling to our guns or religion or anti-(illegal) immigrant sentiment when we feel bitter, Barack Obama put on his own star-spangled extravaganza.

At the Independence rally, standing in front of not one but four American flags, lapel pin firmly in place, hand over heart -- all that was missing was John Philip Sousa and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir -- Barack Hussein Obama "tried to reassure voters about his patriotism" (in the words of ABC News).

When was the last time a presidential candidate had to reassure voters that he actually liked his country? Do you wonder, then, that the Democrats consider patriotism Obama's Achilles heel?

Just because he refused to wear an American flag lapel pin last year, just because he wouldn't hold his hand anywhere near his heart while the National Anthem played, just because Frau Obama suggested that she never had a reason to feel pride in America until her husband's presidential campaign, just because his minister of 20 years regularly reviled the United States from the pulpit, is that any reason to question Obama's patriotism? That's a rhetorical question.

"At certain times over the last 16 months, I have found, for the first time, my patriotism challenged," Obama disclosed to gasps of astonished outrage from the audience.

But he wasn't about to take it in a supine position. "I will never question the patriotism of others in this campaign," the Democrat promised. "And I will not stand idly by when others question mine." Yeah, like anybody's going to question the patriotism of the candidate with the crippled arm, the result of six years of torture as a POW.

Obama went further, charging that the "question of who is -- or is not -- a patriot all too often poisons our political debate" -- the flag-waving equivalent of the politics of personal destruction.

You can see why left-wingers get antsy when the discussion turns to love of country.

Treason permeates the Left. Its bastions -- Hollywood, academia, the establishment media and the mainline churches -- are nests of treason.

In a world where America fights for its survival against a jihadist threat dedicated to ushering in a new Dark Ages -- in an era when 3,000 Americans died in the bloodiest attack on the continental U.S., another 4,000 died in Iraq and more than 30,000 were wounded in that conflict -- it's not hard to see why the left is frantic to avoid a candid discussion of patriotism.

Well, permit me to inject a bit of what Obama calls poison into our political debate. Start trembling, Richard Stengel, I'm about to suggest that some of my fellow citizens are lacking in patriotic ardor.

  • Filmmaker Michael Moore, ayatollah of the anti-American documentary, who compares the Iraqi terrorists to the Minutemen, is less than patriotic. Moore has devoted his career to depicting America as a nation of gun nuts and greedy bastards.
  • Cindy (Bush-killed-my-son) Sheehan, who claims "America has been killing people on this continent since it was started. This country is not worth dying for," will never be mistaken for Betsy Ross.
  • Columbia Professor Nicholas De Genova told a 2003 teach-in: "U.S. flags are the emblem of the invading war machine in Iraq today. ... The only true heroes are those who find ways to defeat the U.S. military." De Genova, who also called for "a million Mogadishus" (in reference to the 1993 Somali ambush, where 18 American soldiers died), doesn't wear a flag lapel pin -- unless it's the flag of Cuba or North Korea.
  • Ersatz American Indian Ward Churchill, formerly a professor at the University of Colorado, called the Americans who died on 9/11 "little Eichmanns," and says he doesn't just want the U.S. out of the Persian Gulf, but "out of North America" and "off the planet."  Sorry, Stengel and Senator, but I gotta go out on a limb here and question this guy's patriotism -- not to mention his sanity.
  • Speaking of the inhabitants of another planet, in January, the City Council of Berkeley, California (liberalism's home town) resolved that the Marines weren't welcome in the city limits, said that the good people of Berkeley should shun Marine Corps recruiters like other "violent influences" and called on anti-war elements like Code Pink to disrupt the work of recruiting offices. Can anyone call this patriotic dissent, with a straight face?

What does any of this have to do with newly minted super-patriot George Lincoln Obama? Look homeward, Hussein.

On May 25, Father Michael Pfleger preached a sermon at Chicago's Trinity United Church in Christ (Barack's house of worship for 19 years), in which he earnestly declared, "I also believe that America is the greatest sin against God." Now, how exactly is calling America a "sin against God" an expression of your love for this country?

Pfleger also believes "America has been raping people of color" throughout our history. Am I wrong, or is rape not a good thing?

Obama and Pfleger have been friends since the late 1980s. Between 1995 and 2001, Pfleger contributed a total of $1,500 to various Obama campaigns. As a senator, Obama directed $225,000 in grants to Pfleger's Chicago church, St. Sabina. Like Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor for almost 20 years, Pfleger has a crush on Minister Louis Farrakhan. He calls the Nazi of Islam leader "a prophetic voice" and a "mentor."

But when  it comes to hating America, Pfleger can't hold a candle to the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., the man Obama formerly described as "like an uncle to me" (the kind of uncle families used to keep locked in the attic).

Wright refers to America as the "U.S. of K.K.K," says "America is the No. 1 killer in the world," claims the U.S. government invented the AIDS virus as a "means of genocide against people of color," and urged parishioners to say "God damn America."

Of course, Barack O-Baloney would have us believe that he sat in a pew of the Trinity United Church of Christ for two decades and never heard a word of Wright's acid anti-Americanism. After World War II, there were probably Germans who claimed they never heard Hitler say anything bad about Jews at a Nuremberg rally.

Patriotism is one of those concepts that's difficult to define in 25 words or less.

But I can tell you what it's not. It's not "America has been killing people on this continent since it was started." It's not "The only true heroes are those who find ways to defeat the U.S. military." It's not "America is the greatest sin against God." It's not "America is the No. 1 killer in the world" and "God damn America."

Given the company Obama has been keeping, I'm surprised Jane Fonda (another profile in the "patriotism of dissent") didn't join him at his Independence rally. The Hollywood traitor did endorse the senator before the Georgia primary.

Coincidentally, in 1972, while Hanoi Jane was posing with a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft battery, John McCain was being tortured in the same city. (Fonda later said returning POWs who told us of torture at communist hands were liars.) Or aren't we allowed to question her "patriotism" either?

This column originally appeared on GrassTopsUSA.com and appears here with the author's permission.

Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains his own website, DonFeder.com.


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